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Jono Slack Review: APO-Summicron-SL 28 f2 Asph – Dreams of Summertime


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Thanks for the examples.  it's clear that the bokeh is very graceful when the subject is really close (dog and rusty gate, above).  And it looked like everything was pretty clearly rendered in your picture with two figures in the near middle distance, and a long view of the beach in the far distance.  Was that taken wide open?  It will be nice to see (maybe now that the lens is out in circulation) how it deals with multiple people at varying distances -- the classic noctilux crowd shot.

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6 minutes ago, FrozenInTime said:

@jonoslack shame you only got the lens for a short time ; seems to me your should be rewarded for all your good work showcasing these lenses and bodies  - a fee of one lens per portfolio would seem about right 😉

That's exactly what I think, sadly Leica never felt the same way about it 😇😂

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1 hour ago, Teddy69 said:

Maybe this new Summicron comes from Lumix  and  not from Leica ??? 😂

Highly unlikely.  There is lots of speculation about other lenses, but I think the set of APO Summicrons is pure Wetzlar.  Look at the glow on Peter Karbe's face when he talks about them.  The slides were linked to in the APO SL 28 Summicron thread on the SL section.

 

Edited by scott kirkpatrick
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5 hours ago, scott kirkpatrick said:

Highly unlikely.  There is lots of speculation about other lenses, but I think the set of APO Summicrons is pure Wetzlar.  Look at the glow on Peter Karbe's face when he talks about them.  The slides were linked to in the APO SL 28 Summicron thread on the SL section.

 

I think it was meant as a joke because this thread got posted in the ‘Other L-Mount products’ forum

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19 hours ago, scott kirkpatrick said:

Highly unlikely.  There is lots of speculation about other lenses, but I think the set of APO Summicrons is pure Wetzlar.  Look at the glow on Peter Karbe's face when he talks about them.  The slides were linked to in the APO SL 28 Summicron thread on the SL section.

 

Yes, Karbe is glowing for them. But for me it is still not clear if I need Apo wide angles. Looks somehow superfluous in Corona times. The SL 16-35 is so “near perfect” already and offers so many primes in one lens.

I would like to get a 135mm lens or at least an extender for the Apo 90, but Karbe is not glowing for that ....  🤔🤣

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vor 5 Stunden schrieb caissa:

Yes, Karbe is glowing for them. But for me it is still not clear if I need Apo wide angles. Looks somehow superfluous in Corona times. The SL 16-35 is so “near perfect” already and offers so many primes in one lens.

I would like to get a 135mm lens or at least an extender for the Apo 90, but Karbe is not glowing for that ....  🤔🤣

In 2020 I had the opportunity loaning out the Vario 16-35 for a week or so. No question, it‘s optically a great (and relatively big)  lens. But I‘m just a Prime Lens-Guy - and Apo-Correction always is a very welcome feature. At least for the decades to come😉.

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On 2/19/2021 at 3:14 PM, Daniel C.1975 said:

Hi Jono,

 

thanks for your view on the lens and as always the lovely accompanying pictures. You make every lens look like a winner, which in this case is also certainly the case.

 

BTW: What breed is you dog?

 

Thanks

Daniel

Hi Daniel

Thanks for the kind words

She's a Pyrenean Sheepdog (that's Matty, the dark grey one) Ben is a terrier of nondisclosed heritage!

All the best

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@jonoslack Your comments (highlighted in red beow) lead me to believe that perhaps there is more to making wide angle lenses APO than selling snake oil to the ignorant.  Therefore, three questions: 

1.)  Is that the case?  And -

2.)  If shooting with a 28mm Summicron (or Elmarit or Summilux) ASPH, can the APO image quality and fingerprint be produced in post-processing with reasonable effort - or is emulation of the APO image quality and fingerprint in post not doable?

3.)  Will the wide angle APO lenses for either the SL or M system offer benefits/advantages for their price premium?  In other words, will they offer a level of image quality and a fingerprint (beyond microscopic pixel peeping and MTF numbers crunching)  that no other wide lens in the SL or M systems can deliver?

Thanks for your insight.

Quote

 

Introduction

I had a copy of this lens for testing during late July and early August 2020, the gap between the springtime lockdown and the autumn upsurge of the Coronavirus.

When I get ready to write a report, the first thing I do is to go through the images taken with the camera / lens and make some basic picks to give me ideas about what to write.

In this instance the pictures seemed like a glimpse into another world, the world of Cornish beaches and moorland in summer sunshine (actually, it rains much of the time, but that isn't what the pictures say).

A lot of the pictures in the attached gallery were shot wide open, which adds to the dreamlike feeling surrounding them.

On the other hand, social distancing was definitely the order of the day, so people pictures are few and far between

So here is a short report to celebrate the release of the new APO Summicron SL 28mm f2 Asph

The 28mm is the 5th lens in the APO SL Summicron lineup. There will be more wide angle lenses released during the next year or so, while the 35, 50, 75 and 90 have already been released.

 

The Lens

As expected, the APO-Summicron-SL 28 f2 Asph is exactly the same form factor as the previous APO Summicrons, (and the future ones as well). The optical design varies between the lenses: in this case it is 13 elements in 10 groups with 3 aspherical lenses and 6 aspherical surfaces. 8 of the elements are made with anomalous partial dispersion glass, which helps to completely remove any colour fringing.

The minimum focus distance is 0.24metres, allowing a magnification of 0.2x (as the other SL Summicrons).

The lens weighs in at a little over 700gm (without lens hood), not light perhaps, but it balances perfectly on the SL2 (and the SL2-S) and is fine for a full days shooting.

Manual Focus is 'focus by wire', but using an innovative system with a magnetic focusing ring, this changes it's polarity when the ring is turned. By default this causes an acceleration if the rotational speed is faster. However, with the SL2 and SL2-s you can now make the focus action linear and decide between focus throws from 90-360 deg in a number of steps.

The lens uses the same 'Dual Syncro Drive' motor as the other SL Summicrons and shares their excellent Auto Focus performance (fast enough and very accurate). 

 

APO Lenses, Contrast and Depth of Field

The almost zero aberrations (especially chromatic aberrations) in the new Summicron SL lenses means a big increase in contrast where the image is in focus. As you move away from the point of perfect focus the contrast drops sharply.

This means that the transition between ‘sharp’ and ‘bokeh’ is defined more quickly and results in smoother out of focus areas than in conventional lenses. I have a diagram drawn for me by Peter Karbe in my notebook, but here is the graph from the Leica website comparing the APO Summicron SL 75 with the Summilux M 75.

The result of this is not just that the 75 APO SL is sharper (it certainly is), but that it has apparently the same DOF as the 75 Summilux-M. The MTF figures for the 50 APO are even better, and so the effect is even more visible.

So we have a series of modestly sized Autofocus lenses for the L mount which perform better than their Aspherical competitors and without any depth of field disadvantage. Of course, they gather less light, but that isn’t often a problem with modern sensors.

 

MTF Curves

Whilst the MTF values for the 28 APO are not quite as jaw dropping as those of it's 35mm sibling they are still outstanding, In real terms there is no penalty shooting the 28 APO at f2 and little shooting at 0.5 metre.

 

Image Quality

It’s all very well talking figures (sorry), and I’m always a little wary of proselytising about the ‘Leica Look’ (it would be easier if I could actually define it). Like the other SL Summicrons I just love the results this lens produces; many of the images in the attached gallery were shot at wide aperture (often at f2) and there seems to be a real glow about them, this isn’t just evident at base ISO where you might expect it, but right up to ISO 6400 and beyond.

In common with the other lenses in the range the 28 still shows gorgeous gentle bokeh, both in front and behind the focal plane with a lovely roll-off between in and out of focus areas (nothing edgy). Stop down a little and the lens is very sharp, right to the corners, but still not in any way harsh. There is little or no distortion (although this is probably corrected in software). I saw almost no flare whilst testing the lens (often in tricky backlit situations) and absolutely no Chromatic aberration - even in the most challenging high contrast images.

 

Conclusion

Sadly I only had this lovely lens for a short period, a period where taking pictures of people with a wide angle wasn't really possible because of Covid.

I'm increasingly impressed with the range of SL Summicron lenses, It's a fantastic endeavour to create a whole set of consistent primes. It makes total sense for the serious photographer to have a set of lenses which are identical ergonomically and have a similar visual character.

I've only really used them for still photography, but the recent firmware development of 'fixed throw' manual focus should make them equally popular with videographers - especially on the SL2-S.

By abandoning large aperture "bragging rights" and making the lenses f2 it has allowed Leica to maximise the image quality across all apertures and right out to the corners. In addition it allows them to make the lenses manageably small and consistent in size and weight. The Apochromatic character of the lenses makes the depth of field feel like lenses a stop faster anyway, so you get the best of all possible worlds.

This lovely APO-Summicron-SL 1:2 28 Asph is a worthy addition to the range.

 

Edited by Herr Barnack
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12 minutes ago, Herr Barnack said:

@jaapv  Your comments (highlighted in red beow) lead me to believe that perhaps there is more to making wide angle lenses APO than selling snake oil to the ignorant.  Therefore, three questions: 

1.)  Is that the case?  And -

2.)  If shooting with a 28mm Summicron (or Elmarit or Summilux) ASPH, can the APO image quality and fingerprint be produced in post-processing with reasonable effort - or is emulation of the APO image quality and fingerprint in post not doable?

3.)  Will the wide angle APO lenses for either the SL or M system offer benefits/advantages for their price premium?  In other words, will they offer a level of image quality and a fingerprint (beyond microscopic pixel peeping and MTF numbers crunching)  that no other wide lens in the SL or M systems can deliver?

Thanks for your insight.

 

Hi There 

I assume this is addressed at me, and not at Jaap?

if so

1. I don't believe it's snake oil, but of course there might be something else making the APO lenses so great

2. I don't think you can - I think it's because the reduction in aberrations (especially chromatic) increases the contrast in the in focus area - as it goes out of focus the contrast drops very fast, making the transition to bokeh enhanced. The graph in the article describes it pretty well. Personally I don't see how this kind of thing could be reproduced in post processing - but it's amazing what you can do!

3. Yes, I certainly think so, and I think that's already pretty obvious with the 35 APO SL and this new 28 APO - just as it is for the 'standard' lenses. I don't think it's anything to do with pixel peeping and MTF curves.

A little story.

I was at Solms 9 or 10 years ago. I was asked to wait for an hour whilst a meeting ended "and perhaps you would like to look at this lens". It was a very neat 50 summicron; at the time there were rumours of a replacement for the normal 50 summicron, so naturally I assumed this was it. I wandered around outside for half an hour taking snaps, and then came in and transferred the images to my laptop, I was astonished - the images seemed to have such presence. Of course, this was an early prototype of the 50 APO Summicron. 

I hope this helps

All the best

Jono

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I assume this is addressed at me, and not at Jaap?

Well, DUH.  🙄  Yes.

Apologies - mistake repaired above.  Multitasking is not one of my strengths, it would appear... 

Leica seems committed to making a lineup of APO lenses for the SL platform.  Hopefully they will do the same for the M platform.

A 35mm APO or (dare we hope) a 28mm APO M lens would make a powerful duo when teamed up with the 50mm APO and hitched to an M10 Mono or M10R.  Such a kit would be very close to M camera Holy Grail territory...

Edited by Herr Barnack
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12 minutes ago, Herr Barnack said:

A 35mm APO or (dare we hope) a 28mm APO M lens would make a powerful duo when teamed up with the 50mm APO and hitched to an M10 Mono or M10R.  Such a kit would be very close to M camera Holy Grail territory...

https://leicarumors.com/2021/02/19/first-picture-of-the-upcoming-leica-apo-summicron-m-35mm-f-2-asph-lens.aspx/

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